November 28, 2017 / Google Updates, SEM Tools

Happy #GivingTuesday! For those who are not familiar with the #GivingTuesday phenomenon, it has turned into the Black Friday of non-profits. It is a day of digital gift giving – mostly in the form of donations and volunteerism – for non-profits. It happens all around the world, and takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and specifically #GivingTuesday, I wanted to share some pro-bono digital marketing tips on Google Ad Grants. They are just for non-profits and they can be an absolute gamechanger – especially when managed properly.

For the purpose of this post, I’m hoping to be two-parts educational and one-part motivational. I’m always surprised when I start working with new non-profits and they share that they have never heard of Google Ad Grants before.

With that, my one motivational request is this: If not through a digital marketing expert like myself – at the very least – please look into the gift that embodies the very definition of giving that is Google Ad Grants. As a non-profit, it really is a no brainer.

Educational Tip #1: What Is a Google Ad Grant?

Non-profits are given exclusive access to Google Ad Grants, and can leverage them to enhance their lead generation and ultimately score a lot of free advertising.

Google Ad Grants are available to qualifying non-profits and provide $10,000/month in Google advertising.

For traditional, for-profit organizations, Google’s paid advertising program, AdWords, is available for display opportunities within Google search results. As a digital marketer, I have operated budgets in the hundreds of thousands for paid search results using Google AdWords. Most clients who purchase AdWords do it for a designated period of time (due to cost) and they do it for the impressions it generates for their products and services.

Impressions are the raw data points of how many people were shown a display ad.

Google AdWords is very targeted, and – when executed correctly – usually very successful.

Some of my most successful campaigns utilizing AdWords have generated returns on investment in the 200-300 percent range. Arguably, it is one of the most effective digital marketing tools in paid advertising.

Educational Tip #2: How to Qualify for a Google Ad Grant

Google gives a lot through their Ad Grants program, but they do not do it without qualifying the receiving non-profits first.

In order to qualify for a Google Ad Grant, a non-profit must:

  • Be located and operating within one of the 51 designated countries they support
  • Hold a valid charity status
  • Agree to their required certifications regarding non-discrimination and the acceptance and use of donations
  • Have a fully functional website, including relevant and “substantial” content

This is where things can get a little tricky, and also where Ad Grants can be taken away. In order to qualify and stay qualified, you have to essentially prove you are optimally using the advertising spend they are gifting to you and your organization.

This is also where a lot of non-profits fail.

Google Ad Grants must be maintained – at a minimum, at least once a month. The biggest mistakes I have seen non-profits make start right at the beginning. When they set-up their Ad account, they bid the wrong keywords, the quality of their ad copy is low, and – even when they are able to successfully set-up their account – they do not know what to do with the website visits once they get them.

Educational Tip #3: How to ‘Win’ When it Comes to Google Ad Grants

The lifeline of any non-profit is in its donations. Volunteers are a close second, and both need constant nurturing and remarketing in order to grow.

I encourage all non-profits to first research Google Ad Grants – here is a link I found helpful – and decide if you are ready to use the $10,000 a month Google would like to give to you.

If you are, and if you are interested in maximizing your current marketing budget and utilizing tools and money available to you – like the Google Ad Grant – please reach out to a digital marketing expert. Avoid getting penalized, or having your Ad Grant taken away from you, by getting set-up right the first time.

Cheers to a happy and healthy season of giving!

Andrew Foster (contributor)

Andrew specializes in lead generation using search engine marketing (SEM). He spearheads lead generation campaigns from strategy to execution, from small businesses to startups. Specifically, Andrew specializes in Google AdWords and Bing Ads as well as paid social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Andrew is also the Google Grant Manager for Safe Kids Georgia. Foster Ideas was founded nearly five years ago and has managed over $10 million in ad spend. Foster Ideas is a Google Partner and member of SEMPO. To learn more about Andrew and Foster Ideas, go to

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